We waited to see what the Jackson County law was going to do with us. The Scottsboro paper had something to say about us. In big headlines, editorials and everything, they said they had us nine fiends in jail for raping two of their girls. The editor had come rummaging around the jail himself.
Then we heard that on March 31 we were indicted at Scottsboro. A trial was set for April 6, only a week away. Down around that way they'll hoe potatoes kind of slow sometimes but comes to trying Negroes on a rape charge they work fast. We had no lawyers. Saw no lawyers. We had no contact with the outside. Our folks, as far as we knew, didn't know the jam we were in. I remember the bunch of us packed in the cell room, some crying, some mad. That was a thinking time, and I thought of my mother, Jannie Patterson, and my father, Claude Patterson. I thought of my sisters and brothers and wondered if they had read about us by now.
What little we heard was going on about us we got from the white inmates. Some were pretty good guys. They saw the papers, read them to us, and the guards talked with them. These fellows, they told us the story had got around all over Alabama and maybe outside the state. They told us, "If you ever see a good chance, you better run. They said they're going to give every one of you the death seat."
I couldn't believe that. I am an unbelieving sort.
CAME trial time, the National Guards took us to Scottsboro. We had to go down through the country from Gadsden to the county seat. We went in a truck. There were guards in front, at the side and behind. I never trusted these guards too much. They were white folks, Alabama folks at that, and I felt they could as lief knock us off as anyone else. State and federal and county law didn't make much difference to us down there. It was all law, and it was all against us, the way we figured.